Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: Maybe in Another Life, by Taylor Jenkins Reid


From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Liferaises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

4.5 out of 5 stars

The story you find within the pages of this book is completely different and incredibly unique.  It's almost as if you are getting two stories.  Hannah, 29 and still searching for a place to plant some roots, finds herself back in LA living with her best friend and her husband.  Looking for a fresh start she finds herself at a crossroads her first night back.  Should she return home with her friend Gabby or should she say yes to spending more time with her ex Ethan.  This seems like such a simple question, but as the story plays out, exploring both options, you find each of the roads will lead Hannah down different paths.  They both result in a HEA but each one is quite different.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is without a doubt a compelling storyteller.  I found myself completely entranced with both story lines, finding it hard to put the book down because I just wanted to know what was going to happen next.  She cleverly tells Hannah's story with alternating chapters, and don't worry I never found myself struggling to remember which path was being travelled, clearly a result of flawless writing.

The ending left me somewhat surprised, not to mention a little confused as to my feelings on the overall story.  But after several days of reflection I realize in choosing to close out the story in the way she did was quite brilliant.  I believe Taylor Jenkins Reid wants to push our limits as readers, to challenge us to think outside the "norm."  Even now, 2 weeks from finishing Maybe in Another Life, I am STILL thinking about this story.  Seriously!  The characters are interesting and complex and nothing about this story is cut and dry.  I recommend you make the time to read this book, it's truly an unforgettable one of a kind escape!

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